Strategies for Responding to a GED Writing Prompt

Strategies for Responding to a GED Writing Prompt

Strategies for Responding to a GED Writing Prompt Reasoning Through Language Arts Designers for Learning 1 Unit Objectives Thesis Statement Introduction 1. Examine the components of the GED writing test. Unpack the Prompt Thesis 2. Interpret the GED writing prompt. Statement Analyze the

Text Thesis 3. Analyze the text of the passage provided. Statement Designers for Learning 2 Section 1: Introduction Introduction Unpack the Prompt Designers for Learning Analyze the Text 3 Introduction: Get Ready for the GED Writing Test

Are you ready to prepare for the GED writing test? Lets review some quick facts about the writing test that should help guide you as you prepare for taking it. 1. On the GED writing test, you will be asked to read, analyze, and respond to a writing prompt. 2. You will have 45 minutes to respond to the prompt, including time for prewriting and editing. 3. GED prompts typically require you to construct an argument or compare and contrast viewpoints, and use supporting details. Introduction Designers for Learning Unpack the Prompt Analyze the Text

4 Introduction: A Sample GED Screen Sample GED Screen This is the text which you will analyze and evaluate in your response. This is the writing prompt. It lists all the requirements for the response. This is the box in which you will type your response. Introduction Designers for Learning Unpack the Prompt Analyze the Text 5

Introduction: Know How to Divide Your Time The purpose of this lesson is to help you maximize the time allowed for planning your response to a writing prompt. Use one fourth of the time (or 10 minutes of 45 minutes) for planning. Focus on effective strategies for unpacking the prompt. Now lets start with unpacking the prompt. Introduction Designers for Learning Unpack the Prompt Analyze the Text 6 Section 2: Unpack the Prompt

Introduction Unpack the Prompt Designers for Learning Analyze the Text 7 Unpack the Prompt: Sample Prompts Sample GED writing prompts: 1. In your response, analyze both positions presented in the passage to determine which one is better supported. Use relevant and specific evidence from the article to support your response. As you read these three writing prompts, you will see that there are two parts to each prompt. 2. In the two autobiographies, the authors describe the challenges they must overcome to learn essential skills.

Compare and contrast the challenges that each author faces and describe how each addresses those challenges. Use specific details from the two passages. 3. In your response, analyze both the speech and the editorial to determine which position is best supported. Use relevant and specific information from both sources to support your answer. Introduction Designers for Learning Unpack the Prompt Analyze the Text 8 Unpack the Prompt: Parts of a Prompt Writing prompts have two parts. 1. Prompt: brief summary of the article 2. Directions for the task: what you are required to do in your

writing response Introduction Designers for Learning Unpack the Prompt Analyze the Text 9 Unpack the Prompt: Interpret the Prompt When you are asked to Unpack a Prompt, it simply means that you need to interpret or make sense of and organize the concepts in your mind. Interpreting the prompt helps you to write a response. Start by asking yourself a few questions similar to the ones listed here: 1. What type of writing does the writing prompt require? 2. What is/are the purpose(s) of the assignment?

3. What information is needed to complete the task? 4. What main points (details or arguments ) does the writing prompt suggest? 5 Who is the audience of the text? Introduction Designers for Learning Unpack the Prompt Analyze the Text 10 Unpack the Prompt: Type of Writing Required To unpack the prompt effectively, pay close attention to the key words in it. The key words serve as clues to help you determine the type of writing required.

For example: Type of Writing Key Words Expository Explain, define, analyze, and compare and contrast Persuasive Develop an argument or determine which argument is stronger Introduction Designers for Learning Unpack the Prompt Analyze the Text 11

Unpack the Prompt: Strategy Use an Unpacking Strategy: Restate the prompt as a Do and What question. Restating the prompt as a Do and What will help ensure that you respond to each part of the prompt. 1. Create two columns labeling one Do and the other What. 2. Identify all action verbs in the prompt and write them in order of their appearance under the Do column. 3. Ask yourself What in response to each verb you identified. The prompt will answer this question. 4. As you outline your response, be sure to address all items you identified from the prompt and put them into the Do and What columns. Introduction Designers for Learning

Unpack the Prompt Analyze the Text 12 Unpack the Prompt: Example Prompt: In your response, analyze both the speech and the editorial to determine which position is supported better. Use relevant and specific information from both sources to support your answer. Read the unpacked prompt above. Click on the arrow to see how the key words fit into the Do and What columns in the table below. DO WHAT Analyze

both the speech and the editorial. Determine determine which position is supported better. Use relevant and specific information from both sources to support your answer. Introduction Designers for Learning Unpack the Prompt Analyze the Text 13 Check Your Knowledge Read the prompt provided and unpack it using the Do and What strategy. Prompt: In the two autobiographies provided, the authors describe the challenges they must overcome to learn essential skills. Compare and

contrast the challenges that each author faces and describe how each addresses those challenges. Use specific details from the two passages. Open a Word document and put your responses into two columns labeled Do and What. Fill in the missing what elements. Introduction Designers for Learning Unpack the Prompt Analyze the Text 14 Check Your Knowledge: Complete It Prompt: In the two autobiographies, the authors describe the challenges they must overcome to learn essential skills. Compare and contrast the challenges that each author faces and describe how each addresses those challenges. Use specific details from the

two passages. DO WHAT Compare and contrast Describe Use Fill in the missing what elements in the column on the right. Check your response with the answer shown on the next slide. Introduction Designers for Learning Unpack the Prompt Analyze the Text

15 Check Your Knowledge: Answer Compare your response to the one provided here. How did you do? Prompt: In the two autobiographies, the authors describe the challenges they must overcome to learn essential skills. Compare and contrast the challenges that each author faces and describe how each addresses those challenges. Use specific details from the two passages. DO WHAT Compare and contrast the challenges that each author faces. Describe how each addresses those challenges. Use specific examples from the two passages. Introduction Designers for Learning

Unpack the Prompt Analyze the Text 16 Section 3: Analyze the Text Introduction Unpack the Prompt Designers for Learning Analyze the Text 17 Analyze the Text: Two-step Strategy Now that you see what you are required to do in response to a prompt, the next step is to analyze the text or articles provided in the test. A two-step strategy will help you analyze the text:

Click on the arrow to see the two-step strategy. Two-step Strategy 1. 2. Identify the arguments. Assess the reasoning supporting each argument. Introduction Designers for Learning Unpack the Prompt Analyze the Text 18 Analyze the Text: Identify the Arguments First, identify the arguments and supporting reasons in the text. Claim 1_________________ Reason 1 __________

Reason 2 _________ Reason 3 _________ You need to find each claim and its supporting reasons. A text might have one or more claims and one or more supporting reasons. Claim 2_________________ Reason 1 __________ Reason 2 _________ Reason 3 _________ Introduction Designers for Learning Unpack the Prompt Analyze the Text 19 Practice Your Skills Try it. Analyze the text to determine the claim and supporting reasons.

Sample Passage: Eating in the Student Center is a pleasant experience. First, most people think food is excellent because it is well prepared; it tastes delicious; and there are many different kinds of food such as hamburgers, tacos, pizza, and chicken. Moreover, each person serves his or herself, selecting just what he or she wants. Second, the environment in the Student Center is positive. Many happy young people are talking and laughing. However, the atmosphere is still calm, so its possible to study and do homework. Open a Word document and identify the main claim. Check your response with the answer on the next slide. Introduction Designers for Learning Unpack the

Prompt Analyze the Text 20 Analyze the Text: Determine Supporting Reasons Determine the supporting reasons that support the main point/claim. Claim Eating in the Student Center is a pleasant experience. Reason 1 Reason 2 Identify the reasons that support the main claim and key in your response in your Word document. Check your response with the answer on the next slide. Introduction

Designers for Learning Unpack the Prompt Analyze the Text 21 Analyze the Text: Answer Check your response with the answer. Claim Eating in the Student Center is a pleasant experience. Reason 1 The food is excellent. Reason 2 The environment in the Student Center is positive. How did you do? Next time you have to analyze some text, try to determine the main claim and

supporting reasons first. This way you can keep track of the claims and arguments for later analysis. Introduction Designers for Learning Unpack the Prompt Analyze the Text 22 Analyze the Text: Assess the Reasons Now you have a list of the claims and reasons. The next step is to assess the reasons. You should ask some key questions to analyze the reasons further. Q1. Is there an alternative explanation for the same topic? Q2. Is the evidence sufficient to support the claim?

Q3. What assumptions do you think the reasons depend on? Q4. Have any logical fallacies been committed? Introduction Designers for Learning Unpack the Prompt Analyze the Text 23 Analyze the Text: Alternative Explanation Remember, you can ask questions to analyze the text. Q1. Is there an alternative explanation to the same topic? An alternative explanation is a different reason for the same claim. Exploring the alternative explanations is an excellent way to find the weaknesses in the authors logic.

Example: James was not in the office today; obviously, because he feels bad after arguing with his supervisor yesterday. (An alternative explanation for James absence could be that he caught the flu. Therefore, the reason presented here is weak.) Introduction Designers for Learning Unpack the Prompt Analyze the Text 24 Analyze the Text: Sufficient Evidence Q2. Is the evidence sufficient enough to support the claim? The reasons usually contain evidence to support the claim. Evidence or reasons could take different forms such as facts, statistics, authoritative quotations, results of studies, observations, experiences, research, etc. Example: James was late because he came down with the flu. According to the television news, there is a strong strain of the flu going around that has caused over 100 people to go to the hospital. (The writer provided evidence from the television news for his reasoning. But the evidence is not sufficient to support the claim. Just because a 100 people have

gone to the hospital with flu symptoms, doesnt mean James was one of them.) Introduction Designers for Learning Unpack the Prompt Analyze the Text 25 Analyze the Text: Assumptions Q3. What assumptions do you think the reasons depend on? An assumption is taking a claim for granted to be true but which actually may not be true. All arguments rely on some common assumptions allowing people to have a conversation in the first place. But these assumptions sometimes are questionable and become the sweet spot of attack in argument. Example: John was late because he lives far away from campus. (Here the assumption is that because Johns home is far from campus, it takes more time for him to commute. If John stayed in his place the night before his class, the assumption might be accurate. But we dont know where he was last night. So the assumption may not be correct.)

Introduction Designers for Learning Unpack the Prompt Analyze the Text 26 Analyze the Text: Logical Fallacies Q4. Have any logical fallacies been committed? Fallacies are flaws in reasoning. Understanding some common logical fallacies will help you make better arguments. The following six are the most common: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. Hasty Generalization Faulty Cause and Effect Fallacy of Authority

Slippery Slope Non Sequitur Either/Or Fallacy Lets take a closer look at each one of these fallacies. Introduction Designers for Learning Unpack the Prompt Analyze the Text 27 Analyze the Text: Hasty Generalization Hasty Generalization: Generalizing from a small sample and trying to use it to apply to a larger sample or different sample. Example: Sue and Joe, college sophomores from Kansas who did not speak French, visited Paris for three days while on their way to London. They stayed in a downtown hotel, went to one museum, ate at three restaurants, and talked briefly with approximately 12 people. They felt that the people were unfriendly and they told their friends later that the French people are very aloof and unfriendly. Why is this a hasty generalization?

Answer: Three days and 12 people do not comprise sufficient time or a large enough sample for a conclusion. Introduction Designers for Learning Unpack the Prompt Analyze the Text 28 Analyze the Text: Hasty Generalization (continued) Hasty Generalization: Generalizing from a small sample and trying to use it to apply to a larger sample or different sample. Example: James worked for 20 years as a skilled technical in a company with 30 male employees. Five years ago, one woman worked with them, but she did not learn the needed skills and was dismissed after two months. The company expanded recently and advertised for men and women applicants. However, James said: Women should not be hired because they cannot do the job well. Why is this a hasty generalization? Check your response with the

answer on the next slide. Introduction Designers for Learning Unpack the Prompt Analyze the Text 29 Analyze the Text: Hasty Generalization (continued) Hasty Generalization: Generalizing from a small sample and trying to use it to apply to a larger sample or different sample. Example: James worked for 20 years as a skilled technical in a company with 30 male employees. Five years ago, one woman worked with them, but she did not learn the needed skills and was dismissed after two months. The company expanded recently and advertised for men and women applicants. However, James said: Women should not be hired because they cannot do the job well. Why is this a hasty generalization? Answer: One woman is not a large enough sample for a conclusion that applies to all women.

Introduction Designers for Learning Unpack the Prompt Analyze the Text 30 Analyze the Text: Faulty Cause and Effect Faulty Cause and Effect: Attributing the wrong cause to the effect. Example: John is usually five minutes late to his English class. It must be because he doesnt like English. Why is this a faulty cause and effect? Answer: John may be late for another reason. For example, he has a tight class schedule this semester and the class prior to English is six buildings away and often lets out two minutes after the bell. Introduction Designers for Learning

Unpack the Prompt Analyze the Text 31 Analyze the Text: Faulty Cause and Effect (continued) Faulty Cause and Effect: Attributing the wrong cause to the effect. Example: Haman said: Every time I wear my lucky college team sweat shirt, our football team wins. Yesterday, I couldnt wear it because it was at my friends apartment. So, our college team lost. Why is this a faulty cause and effect? Check your response with the answer on the next slide. Introduction Designers for Learning Unpack the Prompt

Analyze the Text 32 Analyze the Text: Faulty Cause and Effect (continued) Faulty Cause and Effect: Attributing the wrong cause to the effect. Example: Haman said: Every time I wear my lucky college team sweat shirt, our football team wins. Yesterday, I couldnt wear it because it was at my friends apartment. So, our college team lost. Why is this a faulty cause and effect? Answer: There could be many reasons the team lost, such as the other team was better, the leading quarterback was injured in practice the day before, two defensive tackles were suspended, etc. Introduction Designers for Learning Unpack the Prompt Analyze the Text

33 Analyze the Text: Fallacy of Authority Fallacy of Authority: Accepting as true what is claimed just because someone who has power or authority stated it. Example: Our state representative spoke in our class and said that the U.S. depends on foreign suppliers for 50% of its petroleum imports. I think I read a different percentage. But, since he is a state representative, he must know. Why is this a fallacy of authority? Answer: Simply because the state representative is in government does not guarantee that he or she cites the facts correctly. The U.S. Department of Energy states on its Website that the U.S. imports approximately 33% of its petroleum. Introduction Designers for Learning Unpack the Prompt Analyze the Text 34

Analyze the Text: Slippery Slope Slippery Slope Fallacy: Exaggerating the consequences. Example: We should stop the increase of tuition. If we dont stop it, within the next couple of years the cost will go from $6,000 to $30,000 per semester! Why is this a slippery slope fallacy? Answer: Actually, no one knows if the increase will continue since there is no trending data to indicate that it will. Also, no one knows if the future increase will reach $30,000 per semester. Introduction Designers for Learning Unpack the Prompt Analyze the Text 35 Analyze the Text: Slippery Slope (continued) Slippery Slope Fallacy: Exaggerating the consequences.

Example: If Ethan is late to class every day, he'll miss the material and do poorly on the final exam. Then, he will not have good grades and might not win a college scholarship. Why is this a slippery slope fallacy? Check your response with the answer on the next slide. Introduction Designers for Learning Unpack the Prompt Analyze the Text 36 Analyze the Text: Slippery Slope (continued) Slippery Slope: Exaggerating the consequences. Example: If Ethan is late to class every day, he'll miss the material and do poorly on the final exam. Then he will not have a good grades, and he might not win the college scholarship.

Why is this a slippery slope fallacy? Answer: There is no way to determine the consequences of Ethans being late to class. He may do fine on the test even though he was late to several of the classes. Introduction Designers for Learning Unpack the Prompt Analyze the Text 37 Analyze the Text: Non Sequitur Non Sequitur: The conclusion and claim do not follow from the reasons stated. Example: Jason said: If the referee calls a foul on our team and the other team gets to shoot a free throw, which they miss, it means our team did not foul. The ball doesnt lie. Why is this a non sequitur? Answer: The conclusion does not follow logically from the claim. The player missing the free throw has nothing to do with whether or not the called foul was correct.

Introduction Designers for Learning Unpack the Prompt Analyze the Text 38 Analyze the Text: Non Sequitur (continued) Non Sequitur: The conclusion and claim do not follow from the reasons stated. Example: Sheena goes to the most expensive private college in the state. Therefore, she must be rich. Why is this a non sequitur? Check your response with the answer on the next slide. Introduction Designers for Learning Unpack the

Prompt Analyze the Text 39 Analyze the Text: Non Sequitur (continued) Non Sequitur: The conclusion and claim do not follow from the reasons stated. Example: Sheena goes to the most expensive private college in the state. Therefore, she must be rich. Why is this a non sequitur? Answer: Attending an expensive private college does not automatically mean a student is rich. Sheena may be at the school on a scholarship. Or, she may be working her way through college and has borrowed the rest of the money needed for tuition. Introduction Designers for Learning Unpack the Prompt Analyze the

Text 40 Analyze the Text: Either/Or Fallacy Either/Or Fallacy: Narrowing the options to just two choices when more options might exist. Example: The choice is clear. Either you are for the Presidents decision to send in more troops to end the war or you are unpatriotic. Why is this an either/or fallacy? Answer: The alternative to disagreeing with the President does not indicate that a person is unpatriotic. In fact, disagreeing with U.S. government leaders is a citizens right in a democracy. Introduction Designers for Learning Unpack the Prompt Analyze the Text 41

Analyze the Text: Either/Or Fallacy (continued) Either/Or Fallacy: Narrowing the options to just two choices when more options might exist. Example: A college freshman was driving home for Thanksgiving after a fraternity party that ended at midnight when she had a one-car accident at 1 a.m. The car went off the road and hit a tree. Its obvious that she was either drunk or fell asleep. Why is this an either/or fallacy? Check your response with the answer on the next slide. Introduction Designers for Learning Unpack the Prompt Analyze the Text 42 Analyze the Text: Either/Or Fallacy (continued)

Either/Or Fallacy: Narrowing the options to just two choices when more options might exist. Example: A college freshman was driving home for Thanksgiving after a fraternity party that ended at midnight when she had a one-car accident at 1 a.m. The car went off the road and hit a tree. Its obvious that she was either drunk or fell asleep. Why is this an either/or fallacy? Answer: There could be other reasons for the accident, such as: the cars brakes failed, the roads were wet and slippery from newly fallen snow, there was a white-out that prevented her from seeing, etc. Introduction Designers for Learning Unpack the Prompt Analyze the Text 43 Check Your Knowledge Question 1 Read the following paragraph and identify its assumptions.

The growth in the urban population of the U.S. has put increasing pressure on farmers to produce more food. Farmers have responded by adopting labor saving technology that has resulted in a further displacement of population to cities. As a result, the farm population, formerly a dominant pressure group in national politics, has lost political power. Open a Word document and key in your response. Check your response with the answer on the next slide. Introduction Designers for Learning Unpack the Prompt Analyze the Text 44 Check Your Knowledge

Question 1 Answer: The writer assumes that political power is proportional to the size of the community. It could be that the farm population, despite its reduction in size, still maintains a strong political power because of its hold on precious resources. Introduction Designers for Learning Unpack the Prompt Analyze the Text 45 Check Your Knowledge Question 2 Read the following passage and identify its claim and reasons. A survey of Mason City residents, shows that residents rank water sports (swimming, boating and fishing) among their favorite recreational activities. The Mason River flowing through the city is rarely used for these pursuits. The city park department devotes little of its budget to maintaining riverside recreational facilities. For years there have been complaints from residents about the quality of the river's water and the river's smell. In response, the state has recently announced plans to clean up Mason River. Use of the river for water sports is therefore sure to increase. Therefore,

the city government should devote more money in this year's budget to riverside recreational facilities. Open a Word document and key in your response. Check your response with the answer on the next slide. Introduction Designers for Learning Unpack the Prompt Analyze the Text 46 Check Your Knowledge Question 2 Answer: Claim: The city government should devote more money in this year's budget to riverside recreational facilities and the use of the river will increase.

Reason 1: The survey response shows that Mason City residents rank water sports among their favorite recreational activities. Reason 2: Residents have complained for years about the rivers water quality and its smell, so the state is planning to clean up the river. Introduction Designers for Learning Unpack the Prompt Analyze the Text 47 Check Your Knowledge Question 3 After listing the claim and reasons in Question 2. Analyze the text based on the four questions listed here. Click the down arrow four times to see the questions. Q1. Is there an alternative explanation to the same topic? Q2. Is the evidence sufficient enough to support the claim? Q3. What assumptions do you think the reasons depend on?

Q4. Have any logical fallacies been committed? Open a Word document and key in your response. Check your response with the answer on the next slide. Introduction Designers for Learning Unpack the Prompt Analyze the Text 48 Check Your Knowledge Question 3 Answer: Q1. Is there an alternative explanation to the same topic? Yes, the reason for less use of the river could be that the location of the river is not convenient for people to access. The bad quality of the river could be caused by the

nearby factories. In this case, even though the city government will invest more on river side recreational facilities, the issue will not be resolved. Q2. Is the evidence sufficient enough to support the claim? No, there is not enough evidence to support the argument that people dont use the river because of it is lack of recreational facilities. More information is needed to understand the issue. For example, the location of the river, its nearby environment, etc. Introduction Designers for Learning Unpack the Prompt Analyze the Text 49 Check Your Knowledge Question 3 Answer: Q3. What assumptions do you think the reasons depend on?

Assumption 1: People will use the river more when the quality of the water is better. Assumption 2: People will use the river more when there are more water recreational facilities. Assumption 3: People who favor water sports will use the river in the city. However, none of the above assumptions are supported by the arguments. Q4. Have any logical fallacies been committed? Faulty Cause and Effect Non Sequitur Introduction Designers for Learning Unpack the Prompt Analyze the Text 50 Unit Summary: Key Points

When you are instructed on the GED to write a response to a text, remember to: 1. Use your time efficiently. a. One fourth of the time for planning. b. One half of the time for writing. c. One fourth of the time for revising and editing 2. Recognize the two parts to the prompt. a. A brief summary of the article b. Directions for the task 3. Determine the type of writing required from these two types: a. ExpositoryExplain, define, analyze, compare and contrast b. PersuasiveDevelop an argument or determine which argument is stronger 4. Unpack the prompt effectively by using the Do and What strategy. 5. Identify the claims and supporting reasons for each one. 6. Determine if any of the of the claims contain logical fallacies. Designers for Learning 51 Unit Assessment Access the link to read the sample article An Analysis of Daylight Saving Time and the writing prompt on pages 5 and 6 of the 2014 GED Program Free Practice Test. http://www.gedtestingservice.com/uploads/files0ea79c504bf38dab9ee969cd288fde69.pdf After you have read the prompt and are instructed to begin the test, follow these steps: 1. Unpack the prompt according to the Do and What strategy. 2. Identify the argument and its supporting reasons from each point of view included in

the prompt. 3. Analyze the text based on these questions: Q1. Is there an alternative explanation to the same topic? Q2. Is the evidence sufficient enough to support the claim? Q3. What assumptions do you think the reasons depend on? Q4. Have any logical fallacies been committed? Open a Word document and key in your response. Allow no more than 45 minutes to plan, write, and revise your response. Submit your response to your teacher. Designers for Learning 52 Unit Links 1. An Analysis of Daylight Saving Time (pp 5 & 6). (2014) The 2014 GED Test - Reasoning Through Language Arts: Extended Response Resource Guide for Adult Educators. Retrieved from http:// www.gedtestingservice.com/uploads/files/0ea79c504bf38dab9ee969cd288fde69.pdf Designers for Learning

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